Here is a discussion with lots of useful information on PIR.
I have summarized information on where to stay:
From Andie3 on December 14, 2010
We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Gurnee. It was fabulous! They have a pool/ hot tub, a great breakfast is offered for free and different hot things every day. Gurnee is about 10 minutes from the training center and full of places to eat and shop. My son spent a ton of time at the outlet mall and Target buying boxer briefs and Starbucks! He also bought a DS for his flight to his A school. *giggle* Your son should know before hand if he is grad n go. When is his PIR? Do you have enough time to write and ask him?
From PattiM-proud mom of sailor Alex on December 11, 2010
Hampton Inn in Libertyville is very nice and includes morning breakfast, pool and hot tub. We had 2 Queen size beds and a pull out couch, refridge and microwave . We did not know in advance that we would have our son with us for the entire weekend, so our extra space worked great for sleeping and conversation. Libertyville has some good restaurants too and is 15-20 minutes from the base. Took the train into Chicago for sightseeing $7.00 per person for unlimited trips on the weekend( free for those in military uniform-the water taxi in Chicago took us to the Navy Pier -also free for those in uniform). We actually drove into Chicago on Sunday and parking was $14.00 for the day and traffic was no problem.
From cheryllynn-proud mom of a sailor on November 4, 2010
We stayed at the Courtyard, Marriott in Waukegan. Very nice hotel. Very helpful and pleasant employees.
Breakfast is served in the lobby area each morning. You can order buffet or menu and you have to pay.
There is a shuttle taxi service that you can sign up for at a charge of $6.00 a person each way. I think it may be a little cheaper for the Sailor. They will also bring your Sailor back to base in the evening if need be. We decided to use the shuttle in the morning to PIR, even though we had a rental car, just to get there easily and find our bearings. We did get dropped off at the opposite end of the entrance to the hall so if you go in the winter prepare for a walk to get in. Dress warm. I believe any shuttle service has the same drop off spot so you will have to walk.
From Dillions Mom *Sailor* on November 6, 2010
we stayed at Springhill Suites, it was very nice, clean, staff was friendly. I would not recoment taking a shuttle to the PIR, we waited for this lady to come and she drove a mini van, she didnt do it that often so she was confused where to drop us off, it was a ways from graduation and we walked completly around the base to get there. she is usually a school bus driver and her van only held 7 people at a time. if we had to do over, we would of drove.
From Sassafras Proud Mom of a Sailor on November 7, 2010
We stayed at the Days Inn in Waukegan -- which was basically an okay place to stay... clean, refrig & microwave, but no pool or spa and no great restaurants nearby and a LONG/SLOW 8 miles to the base. On the other hand, Gurnee and Libertyville seemed to have LOTS of interesting things to do. ~~~
From Sassafras Proud Mom of a Sailor on November 7, 2010
About accommodations: If it's in your budget ($170+ per night for 2 adults + 2 kids), this place in Gurnee looks like a hoot. http://www.keylimecove.com/ They have an indoor waterpark... which we found out about on our last day in town... so I really know nothing about it other than what's on their website... still, I guaratee you, had we stayed at the waterpark hotel we would likely not have done anything but swim and play the whole weekend...
From TRea’s Mom (ship 09 div 015) on December 6, 2010
Just stay away from the Super 8 in the 600 block of Green Bay Road in Waukegan. The prices are reasonable, but we stayed there and it's on my list to not repeat that mistake. The cops had to be called the last night we were there for a party across the hall that got very loud and profane. Not good!
Also from TRea’s Mom on December 4, 2010
But we did come upon a couple of experiences in the Great Lakes area that I would like to pass along. First, regarding choice of a hotel, DO NOT stay at the Super 8 on Green Bay Road. We chose it first and foremost because of the price. We just couldn't afford to spend a lot on accomodations, but for what we got, it was way overpriced. The showers were terrible, not much water pressure and the water temperature was all over the scale, first hot and then cold, without touching the control. Also the shower curtain was hanging by a very loose set of screws and we had to be careful not to pull the rod off the wall. The hotel is generally rundown and they are obviously not investing anything in it. The beds were okay at best. But the worst was the very loud party that took place across the hall from my room, and I do mean loud!! There was music so loud the floor was vibrating and then the party spilled out into the hall with people yelling curse words. Finally the police were called and they arrested some people. When I talked to the hotel manager about taking something off my bill for inconvenience, he said they handled it the best they could and would not be giving any discount.
From Joshuas PROUD MomofaSAILOR on December 16, 2010
Hey Y'all - I've only been on here a few times since PIR (10/29/10) - I just found this discussion and didn't see any mention of the Navy Lodge - which is where we stayed. Only $65, per night NO taxes - and we had a very decent room. It's a no frills place, but we had a room with a small kitchen - stove top, microwave, coffee maker and fridge. The staff was WONDERFUL! We had arrived about an hour and a half prior to check in time, but the manager allowed us to go ahead and check in (I guess we looked as exhausted as we were after our all-nighter of driving!). It was just down the road from the graduation hall, and there was an NEX express just around the corner (They were mainly like a convenience store - with gas pumps).
From Tee-1sailor’s mom on October 2, 2009
We stayed at the Residence Inn, Waukegan. It was wonderful. We got a AAA discount so I booked a 1 br suite. Full kitchen, (everything but an oven). If you are there on Thurs. night they have a free dinner buffet, and hot breakfast every day. The staff is also very helpful with directions, etc. We told them we were going to PIR and they had a packet of information for us.
My son wanted to mostly hang out and eat. There's a Walmart and several eating places really close. The Mall is about 20 minutes away. We went to the movies there and if you want to shop, it's nice.
From Heloisa on July 3, 2008
I stayed at the Quality Inn, in Waukegan. It was very nice. They let us have a room with two double beds, and when we told them we were bringing our daughter, they charged only $10 more for her to stay in the room. They also have a huge poster board in the lobby, with pictures of more than 500 Navy graduates, and a banner congratulating the graduates. The rooms are nice, and they fold the towels in the bathroom in a format of flowers. They are about 5 minutes away from the Base by car, and they offer Continental breakfast.
From Sheryl on July 3, 2008
We stayed at the Homewood suites in Linconshire last weekend. It was Very nice, totally worth it...Be sure to ask at the front desk how to get to the base taking the side road, its a very easy drive and that way you miss the tolls and all that traffic on 94!!!
From Georgia on July 4, 2008
I checked out a bunch of hotels when visiting my son at the Great Lakes, IL Navy base, and I found the Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Waukegan/Gurnee (www.marriott.com/chiwk). They are listed in the Navy brochure. It is the best hotel ever! We checked in and they gave us a ton of information about the graduation, shuttle information and a huge "Navy Family" welcome packet. It had directions to everything you could think of plus Chicago transportation info and tons of restaurants and things to do in the area. When we came back from graduation, the hotel had a huge color poster put out "congratulations graduates" with cookies and their free fresh fruit water/coffee & tea they have out every day. The staff was more than accommodating. I never travel but I felt at home with the staff and the very comfortable, clean non-smoking hotel. The hotel was not a party hotel like most hotels in the area, it was very quiet and as a single woman I felt very safe. It was very modern and more upscale than any hotel in waukegan/gurnee and has beautiful marble floors in the lobby. Anyways I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this hotel and it you want a nice place to take your graduate back to, this is the place!
From 209mikesmom on April 26, 2010
Just got back from PIR this past weekend! What an experience! We stayed at the Residence inn. We had a 2 bedroom suite. It was really nice. It had a full kitchen. We were able to use points cause my husband travels a lot. We also used the shuttle service. Everything went smooth. New moms hang in there. Keep writing, they love getting letters. your turn will be here before you know it. Good luck to all of you and your sailors.